Bears don’t scare me

Kristine Gill

It’s nice to know the university is looking out for its students. When something dangerous is present, we deserve to know so we can protect ourselves. A Flash ALERTS message is a great way to do that.

But I think I’d rather get a Flash ALERTS message about the tuition hike than the bear someone spotted. Let me know when the bear has mauled a few students, but I don’t need to get a text message telling me there’s a wild bear getting “too close” to people. We live on a planet with wildlife. We’re going to encounter it.

Can you imagine how many press releases like this must have gone out to animals when settlers first descended in the West?

This just in: A band of humans has been spotted trekking west toward the coast on a moving cart covered with the dead hides of our ancestors. Do not attempt to feed the humans.

We act like the neighborhoods and cities we’ve built are somehow nature proof. Many act as if bears and other “dangerous” creatures know not to penetrate the “safety” of our backyards, our fenced parks, our streets and garbage cans. Who said this place belonged to us?

The detailed Flash ALERTS message at seemed pointless. It warned that “As with all wild animals, people should not try to approach or feed the black bear,” but went on to say, “There is no reason to believe that it poses a serious threat to people.”

The message also said the bear was moving from the area and seemed to shy away from humans. So what you’re telling me is, you’ve sent out a Flash ALERTS message warning people of something comparable to a black squirrel?

I understand why the university sent this message out. They’re calming the fears of anyone who has heard about the bear, and they’re covering themselves in the off-chance that one of these bears eats a faculty member.

“We deeply mourn the passing of professor B. Ayer Prey, but we can’t say we didn’t warn you,” the following Flash ALERTS will read.

I am not afraid of bears. I’m afraid of tuition hikes and losing good faculty to buyouts.

So unless this bear is responsible for either of those two things, I’m cool with him strolling around campus.

One hundred and forty-eight faculty and staff took buyouts this semester and left campus. Do you know how many of those losses were on account of bears? By my count, only one or two.

Bears aren’t a big threat. Black squirrels are another matter. Do you know how many Kent State students died as a result of squirrel bites last semester alone? I don’t either, but I bet it was high.

I’d really like to see our next Flash ALERTS say something about the percentage of rabid squirrels on campus, squirrels that shy away from humans and pose no serious threats. Better yet, how about a text telling us how many students on campus don’t have swine flu.

Those are the kinds of things I want to know about.

Kristine Gill is a senior newspaper journalism major and a columnist for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].